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Kerala uses open source public utility to fight COVID-19

The otherwise serene, calm and beautiful southern state of Kerala known for its palm-lined beaches and backwaters, has grabbed the headlines for some not so healthy news off late. The state popularly called God’s own country is the worst hit state by the Novel Coronavirus in India, reporting 95 cases till 24.03.2020 at 08:45 AM (as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). It is estimated that 50% of Kerala’s population (about 16.5 million) may catch the corona virus at some stage.

As per WHO statistics, it took 67 days from the 1st reported case to reach the first 100K cases, 11 days for the second 100K cases & just 4 days for the third 100K cases. Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization said, “What matters most is what we do. You can’t win a football game only by defending. You have to attack as well. Asking people to stay home & other physical distancing measures are important to slow down the spread of the Corona virus & buy time, but they’re defensive measures. To win, we need to attack the Corona virus with aggressive and targeted tactics –  testing every suspected COVID19 case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case, and tracing and quarantining every close contact.”

To combat the spread of the virus and to prepare itself to face the untoward situation where its healthcare system that consists of 37,021 hospital beds collapses, CoronaSafe Network has been launched, which is an open source public utility designed by a multi-disciplinary team of innovators and volunteers who are working on a model to support Government efforts with full understanding and support of the Government of Kerala. The entire premise of CoronaSafe Network has been based on single well-coordinated ‘War Strategy’ that includes Central and State Governments, Administrative Officers, Defence personnel, Hospital Administrators, Doctors, Software Programmers, Educational Institution Administrators, Students across any discipline of any age group, general public and volunteers from the state of Kerala and outside Kerala. Once this strategy succeeds in Kerala, it can be easily replicated in other states as well.

So, what does the ‘War Strategy’ include? Essentially two main components: Corona Literacy Mission and the Corona Care Canters.

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Corona Literacy Mission

In order to spread authenticated and correct information that is empowering and does not create panic in the minds of people, the first step of CoronaSafe Network is to develop and spread awareness on the way the virus spreads, precautions to be taken and to bust fake news and myths. They achieved this by translating to Malayalam (language spoken in Kerala) content given in the website of The World Health Organisation on Corona Virus. A team of volunteers were involved in this activity which was reviewed by a team of teachers working under the Principal Secretary (Higher Education), Dr Usha Titus IAS. The Malayalam web portal is available at https://ml.coronasafe.in/

Volunteers have also been assigned to encourage all citizens to go through the content and make themselves educated on the issue. The portal also has quizzes to ensure people have correctly imbibed all the information.

Corona Care Centers (CCC)

Almost 90% of the hospital beds in Kerala are already occupied and if the pandemic spreads, the burden on the existing healthcare system will be too much to handle. Hence, the second aspect of CoronaSafe Network is the creation of Cornoa Care Centres, which are temporary facility created to augment the healthcare system of the state. It is developed as a public-private partnership system to soften the impact on hospitals and to deliver quality health services to everyone who is affected without the system collapsing completely leading to maximum lives being saved. This is done by converting Educational Institutions like Schools and Colleges into centers where patients in the locality can reach out for help.

There are 6 Responsibilities split between the Private and Public Sector.

Private Partner (Educational Institution)

  • Provide a suitable location and infrastructure for the model center
  • Help bring together a team of volunteers to help the Center Head run the center
  • Coordinate with the Centre Head to run the centre smoothly

Public (State Government)

  • Appoint an official Center Head to manage the CCC
  • Ensure inventory supplies and other centralised facilities like training of volunteers, ambulance network, food management, and waste disposal
  • Liaison with the state police, local self-government/village panchayat members for ensuring smooth operation of the Corona Care Center

Preliminary requirements for creating a model CCC have been gathered and a plan for a Model Corona Care Center has been created to test the full physical facility and software system. Once this model is in place, it can then be quickly scaled it to 1000’s of educational institutions and ensure the healthcare capacity in Kerala is not overloaded and maximum number of citizens get the required attention and care they need.

The last part of the initiative will be launched when a vaccine for the virus is developed, which will include an active Corona Virus immunisation programme.

Also Read: Coronavirus: Geospatial industry pitches in to help combat pandemic

India Map on CoronaSafe Network

The CoronaSafe Network portal hosts few other useful resources the India Map, which gives real-time updates on COVID-19 cases, as well as directions to the test centres. The page provides links to a list of leading media houses covering news on the topic.

When you zoom into a state, it shows more detailed information on cases, including:

  • Observation – Total number of patients under observation
  • Hospitalized – Number of patients under observation in a hospital
  • Home Isolation – Patients in home isolation
  • Cases – Total number of confirmed cases
  • Cured/Discharged – Patients cured or discharged
  • Deaths – Number of deaths reported in the district

For Kerala, district level information is available, whereas for other states, state level information is available.

A toggle has also been provided to show test centers across the country, which are linked to Google Maps for finding directions.

Other Resources on CoronaSafe Network portal include:

  1. Defence Protocols: A list of the defence protocols and home quarantine guidelines
  2. Care: Care is a single point to link Hospitals, Corona Care Centers and Volunteers to the unified Corona Safe Network
  3. Corona RM: Corona Relation Manager is a Call Center inspired system to keep track of contacts currently under observation
  4. Corona Analytics: Corona Analytics shows real time analytics of coronasafe
  5. Call For Volunteers: coronasafe.network is an opensource community managed project with more 20 applications running live. This section is a call for developers to join the initiative
  6. Introduction to War Strategy: Outlines the war strategy of the initiative
  7. Join us at Slack: Click here to join to the official channel of Coronasafe.in

Also Watch: Satellite images show the impact of coronavirus around the world

Open Source Code Links:

Github Organization: https://github.com/coronasafe/

CCC Model: https://github.com/coronasafe/model

Contributors https://github.com/coronasafe/coronasafe.in/graphs/contributorshttps://github.com/coronasafe/awareness/graphs/contributors